Identifying Applied CSR-Strategies and Respective Communication amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives from International Swedish Companies

University essay from Institutionen för tillämpad informationsteknologi

Abstract: This study is interested in the external communication of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It specifically focuses on twelve Swedish internationally renowned companies operating within varied fields of work, thus contributing with different perspectives. It aims to provide a broad understanding of the strengths and challenges perceived by these companies when communicating to external stakeholders. In addition, the study aims to provide knowledge about companies’ communication strategies during these extraordinary times. According to previous research, it has become increasingly important for companies to engage in CSR to maintain their reputation and sufficient economic results. Although, as a result of the pandemic, many companies struggle to stay afloat and have had to reconsider their priorities. Due to the contemporary nature of the pandemic, few studies so far have investigated the corporate reasoning behind the CSR communication strategies to external stakeholders during this specific time period, which this study also aims to contribute to. To answer the research question, semi-structured interviews were conducted, and Thematic Analysis (TA) was used to generate empirical results. Our analysis provides an overview of the perceived strengths and challenges in communicating CSR to external stakeholders amid the pandemic. In respect of limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus, all interviews were conducted online via video calls. This study emphasises the need to take into account the rapid changes stemming from the pandemic, which have translated into more challenges than strengths when communicating CSR to external stakeholders, and suggests that a suitable leadership style could impact the overall communication strategy and performance.

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